Europese overtredingprocedures tegen Frankrijk en het Verenigd Koninkrijk betreffende de tunnel onder het Kanaal

On 29 september, the Commission launched infringement proceedings against France and the UK over the Channel Tunnel regarding their failure to implement the European regulation aimed at opening up the market for rail services.

The European legislation at stake, that is the first railway package, seeks to create the foundation for opening up the market and competition in railway services.

It imposes the following obligations: the independence of the infrastructure manager, non-discriminatory track access charging and the setting-up of an independent regulator to remedy competition problems in the rail sector. The first railway package was to be implemented in the legislation of the Member States by 15 March 2003.

The Commission considered that the UK and France did not fulfil their European obligations concerning the independence of the rail infrastructure manager of the Channel Fixed Link. The Commission also criticized the insufficient implementation of the provisions of the first railway package relating to rail access charging, the independent regulatory body and capacity allocations regarding the Channel Fixed Link.

In 2008, letters of formal notice raising similar infringement issues were sent by the Commission to 24 Member States, including France and the UK for failure to properly implement the first railway package but those letters did not address the implementation of the directives in relation to the Channel Fixed Link. The Commission therefore addressed the two new letters of formal notice to France and the UK in order to complete the correct implementation of the EU regulation.

The Member States concerned had two months to respond to the letters of formal notice. If they fail to respond satisfactorily, the Commission may address a reasoned opinion followed by proceedings before the Court of Justice if the Member States do not comply with the request of the Commission.